Saturday, February 26, 2011

For Science!

My excellent friend JVW recently sent me a care package.  Among other things it contained a jar of Double Apricot brand Preserved Cabbage.  Apparently it's Thai cabbage that is preserved.  The contents of the jar appeared oddly dry for something that I imagined belonged in the sauerkraut family. 

The jar might have sat in some out of the way place in the kitchen except that this week also saw me bringing home a bag of Safeway's house brand frozen pot stickers. (I speak the international language of dumplings.)  This evening I thought I'd have some for dinner.  The soup I'd been planning to eat had not thawed, so I cast about for another side dish.  At once, I thought of the Preserved Cabbage.  So after I whisked the pot stickers out of the skillet, I dumped what I thought was an appropriate Sarah size portion into the remaining water from the pot stickers.  I can be enthusiastic about cabbage and its relatives.  Very enthusiastic, so it was rather a lot of preserved cabbage.

Only then did I taste the cabbage.  It was salty.  No... it was SALTY.

This was not pickled cabbage in the kimchi tradition, this was salted cabbage in the salt pork tradition.  Only more so.  

Clearly it had been intended to be rinsed, blanched, and used as a condiment.  I had dumped almost half the tightly packed jar into my skillet.  I added more water.  I added vinegar.  In desperation, I added a pinch of sugar.  Anything to cut through the salt flavor. 

Dear readers, I did not succeed in appreciably diminishing the saltiness of the preserved cabbage, but because I was very hungry, I dumped it over my pot stickers and attempted to eat it anyway. I mostly succeeded, because I was very stubborn and very hungry (having spent the afternoon walking around Seattle in cold, wind, and snow hunting a particular book). 

If there is a lesson here, it's probably try the bizarre Asian canned goods sent to you by your friends, before you commit to eating half a jar.  I will be trying to figure out what to do with the remaining preserved cabbage in the weeks to come.  If you have ideas, drop me a line.  My ideas at the moment involve mashed turnips and potatoes.   

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